Some forums are currently rumored to have a new Google update coming up these days. Since there’s nothing reliable to report yet, we’ll stick to this week’s SEO news, which answers a question you may have asked yourself: Should you use absolute or relative URLs?
FOR SEO IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU USE ABSOLUTE OR RELATIVE URLS
Those who know their way around will probably ask themselves: Where did the seo-nerd get it from? Answer: from a tweet by John Müller, Google’s contact person for webmasters (or an article by Christian Kunz, who followed this tweet and classified its meaning).
If you haven’t been involved with SEO and website design, you may want to know what absolute and relative URLs are. The difference refers to the form of internal links. You basically have the choice between two options:
Absolute URL: You enter the protocol, the domain address and the path of the respective directory as well as the URL name of the page, for example: https://(www.)domainadress.de/category/site.html
Relative URL: They always start with a slash. So you just enter the path to the category and the page, for example: /category/page.html (relative to the web server). If the page is not assigned to a category, /page.html (relative to the document) is of course also sufficient.
As mentioned at the beginning, according to John Müller for Google it does not matter which form of internal linking you choose. This is obvious inasmuch as Google always examines the context in which internal links appear anyway. The assignment to the domain is therefore not necessary for the understanding of the link.
Although you can use both methods from an SEO perspective, you should still consider which one you choose. Because both the absolute URL and the relative URL have advantages and disadvantages.
THE ADVANTAGES OF RELATIVE URLS
The loading time is somewhat faster with the relative URL. However, this “something” is so minimal that it is of no further importance for the ranking.
Relative links can be programmed quickly and easily
If you move your content or put it on another server for testing, this can be done quickly and easily with relative links.
DISADVANTAGES OF RELATIVE URLS
Content theft (scraping) is made extremely easy with relative URLs. They can simply copy the entire page and do not even have to rewrite the internal links, since the domain was not named
Relative links often encourage the creation of duplicate content. If pages are moved, the relative links often lead to nothing, since the relation to the higher plane can no longer be established.
Search engine crawlers often have a similar problem with the relative reference. If they are always routed from one relative URL to another, you may never get to the full standard version of the domain. In the worst case, the search engine may even crawl and index pages that duplicate (such as an https and an http version). Relative links therefore always carry the risk of giving away valuable crawlbudget. Possibly unimportant pages will then be indexed while other important pages will no longer have a chance to be ranked
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ABSOLUTE URLS
When using absolute URLs, the link always points to the correct URL. The content is thus better protected against theft. If someone simply copies the content 1:1, at least the internal links still refer to your domain. The disadvantages of relative URLs described above are avoided by absolute URLs.
Disadvantages of absolute URLs are that they are not suitable for testing your site on a local or other server. If you even plan a move, the effort is much higher.
Which variant you choose should always depend on your needs. If you test a lot or know that you still want to migrate the content often, relative URLs are certainly a good choice. In terms of security, however, the absolute URLs are unbeatable.
AdWords was launched almost 18 years ago. Google has made a lot of money with its advertising platform. Now the company is separating from the brand name of its cash cow. Ads can still be placed, of course. However, three advertising products are now available for this purpose.
Also in our SEO news of calendar week 26-2018: Better chances to rank high with videos, the new “URL inspection tool” and a clarification on Canonical URLs.
REBRANDING FROM GOOGLE ADWORDS TO GOOGLE ADS
Google justifies its departure from AdWords in a blog entry primarily with the ever greater diversification of playout channels and the associated need to bundle advertising solutions and make them clearer. Behind the rebranding stand summaries of several different advertising products:
AdWords becomes Google Ads
DoubleClick Advertiser and Google Analytics 360 Suite merge into Google Marketing Platform
DoubleClick Publisher and DoubleClick Ad Exchange go live in the new Google Ad Manager
Google names 24 July 2018 as the starting date for the new brands. Google Ads is intended to make it easier for smaller companies to enter the Group’s advertising world. In future, you will not only receive suggestions for ads on the search results page (SERP), but also for advertising options on YouTube or Google Maps. In the USA, Google has been offering so-called smart campaigns for this purpose since this week.
Machine learning helps small businesses to learn how to optimize their advertising. For example, the tool analyzes the behavior of users and, if necessary, suggests entering a directly dialable telephone number in the display.
GOOGLE MARKETING PLATFORM OFFERS CLOSE LINKING OF ADS AND ANALYSIS
Larger companies and agencies, on the other hand, usually prefer to develop their own ideas and strategies for their advertising measures. To achieve this, they are dependent on analyzing the success of their advertising as continuously as possible. The new Google Marketing Platform will make this easier in the future. It not only combines the DoubleClick Marketing products with the Google Analytics 360 Suite, but will in future also offer further features such as Display & Video 360, which should make it possible to carry out advertising campaigns consistently in one place.
GOOGLE AD MANAGER BECOMES A UNIFORM PLATFORM FOR PUBLISHERS
The new Ad Manager brings together DoubleClick for Publisher and DoubleClick Ad Exchange offerings. The Ad Manager should not only be an opportunity for publishers to generate additional income with their offers and content. Rather, the tool should also serve to show possibilities for increasing sales. In future, the ad manager will show on which devices and platforms users can be reached.
MORE SEO-NEWS OF THE WEEK
GOOGLE IMPROVES THE CHANCES TO RANK WITH VIDEOS
Since last week, Google no longer displays videos on the desktop SERPs using video thumbnails in the organic results, but instead provides a clear video carousel. This offers space for an average of 8.5 videos. The chances of scoring well with a video are therefore better than ever. According to Sistrix analysis, website operators even benefit twice from the innovation: Often the URL of the hosting website is displayed instead of being linked to the platform URL.
NEW “URL-INSPECTION TOOL” IN THE SEARCH CONSOLE
Google announced the rollout of the “URL inspection” tool in its own blog this week. The URL inspection tool provides detailed crawl, index, and service information about pages directly from the Google index. If you enter the URL of a page, you now get information about the status and date of the last crawl. Any crawl and indexing errors are also displayed. If the page was indexed successfully, all extensions of the URL are also displayed, such as linked AMP versions or rich snippets for recipes or jobs.
If a page has not been indexed, the “URL inspector” displays possible reasons for this, such as a “noindex tag” in the HTML code. In such cases, the tool also refers to other pages with the same problem, making it easier to identify and correct common errors.
CLARIFICATION OF THE CANONICAL URL
The “URL Inspection Tool” also displays the Canonical URL. There has been some irritation about this this this week. In a hangout there were misleading statements by Google spokesman John Mueller that sounded as if Google would ignore URLs if they were not explicitly assigned a Canonical URL. In a later tweet, however, Mueller makes it clear that Google automatically assigns a canonical URL to each indexed URL. If this is not suggested by the webmaster, the URL and Canonical URL are usually identical.
Background: For example, canonicals are set for products that differ only minimally (for example, in color, size, quantity, etc.). With the Canonical-tag a main URL is defined. Google knows that it only needs to take this one main page seriously (and understands that the repetition of text is not duplicate content).
There was little real news from the SEO world this week. Therefore, we take the opportunity to take a look at an article by Neil Patel to see what the ideal anchor text should look like before we briefly discuss the possibility in Google’s PageSpeed Insight to check not only individual URLs, but now also entire domains with regard to loading speed. Finally, we reveal how Google can be made to index images (and which cases that doesn’t work).
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ANCHOR TEXTS
Anchor text is what a user can click on to be forwarded internally (within the domain) or externally (to an external website). These can be single or multiple words or even a URL. On most pages, the link anchor is highlighted visually, for example by underlining or by a color (such as the pink of seo-nerd®).
The function of the anchor text in the text is therefore to draw the reader’s attention to a link that contains further information. In this text and at this point, for example, it makes sense to refer to the article about link anchors by Neil Patel in the Kissmetrics blog, as it is the main source of the following remarks.
TYPES OF ANCHOR TEXTS
Anchor texts can be characterized according to the choice of term(s) used for them:
Anchor text with the keyword (also called “money anchor text” or “match anchor text”): In our example, in the phrase “article about link anchor by Neil Patel in the Kissmetrics blog” the link anchor would then be on the word “link anchor”. This variant is particularly recommended if you want to refer to important internal pages. With external links, such keyword anchor texts should always be treated with caution. After all, you want to present yourself as an important source for the keyword. (Since Google always looks at the entire context of the article with a link, the search engine in our example understands anyway that the linked page is also about link anchors).
Anchor text phrase (often referred to as “compound anchor text”): in our example the entire phrase “article about link anchors by Neil Patel in the Kissmetrics blog”. This is always a good choice if the user should already know with the anchor text what the linked page is about. Occasionally, the choice of such a phrase also forces itself to make links distinguishable from each other.
Brand anchor texts: They contain the brand name or the target domain. In our example phrase, this could be “Kissmetrics”.
Generic Anchors: This refers to “descriptive” anchor texts such as “Click here” or “Order online now”. Generic anchors are particularly useful if a request for action is connected to the link behind it.
Images as anchors: Images can also be anchors and lead to other pages when clicked. The alt attribute then functions as anchor text, which can only be seen by the user when the image cannot be displayed (however, Google reads the alt text and evaluates it in such cases like an anchor text).
Anchor texts with topic-related keywords (also called “LSI keywords”): LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, meaning words or phrases related to the focus keyword of the text. Anyone who writes about Paris, Moscow and Berlin, for example, could also talk about “European capitals” and then link this term on occasion.
Headline anchor text: If the text flow permits, the headlines (h1-tag) or the meta-title of the page to which the link is made may also be used. In our example, the “Anchor Text SEO: Everything You Need to Know in 2018”.
URL as anchor text: It only makes sense to link the URL if it is a talking URL. This is particularly useful in internal linking in order to strengthen your own brand name (for example from sub-pages to the start page with the brand name as the link anchor).
WHAT HAS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN USING ANCHOR TEXTS?
Link anchors provide important information to both users and search engines. Therefore, anchor texts in the text flow should always appear as natural as possible and be concise and relevant. If they look like a foreign object, both users and search engines will probably ignore the links. In the worst case, they even contribute to the text being considered bad.
Before the introduction of the Penguin Update, it was possible to use anchor texts to assign pages to keywords that they did not even correspond to in content. This form of keyword stuffing is now recognized and punished by the penguin algorithm.
WHAT SHOULD A NATURAL LINK PROFILE LOOK LIKE?
It therefore makes sense to vary the anchor texts and always consider which part of the sentence could arouse the reader’s interest most or what he or she would like to know more about. A natural link profile offers a mix of all anchor text variants. Neil Patel recommends a link profile for homepages that want to rank nationally,
which consists of 50 percent brand links
where money keywords are used sparingly (share of one percent)
whose generic and topic-relevant link anchors each make up about 5 percent of the link profile
with a proportion of URL as anchor text of around 20 percent
For subpages, however, the ideal link profile shifts from brand anchor texts to headline (around 28 percent), keyword (17.5 percent), generic (15 percent) and URL anchor texts (around 12 percent). The link profile of pages to be found in local search queries should be similarly balanced. Here, too, it is recommended to rely primarily on brand (around 20 percent), generic (around 15 percent) and URL anchor texts.
PAY ATTENTION TO NATURALNESS WHEN USING INTERNAL LINKS AND AVOID “BAD LINKS”
However, it should be borne in mind that all these figures are based on best-practice studies and therefore basically only form cross sums of link profiles. The figures do not reflect whether and how the different link anchor types were used. If you thoughtfully link to sub-pages in which topics are deepened, you are certainly not wrong, even if you use keyword anchor texts more frequently, as long as you do not overdo it.
In the case of external links, you should especially keep away from “toxic websites” or websites with “low content” and be careful not to be linked to such sites. With the Disavow tool from Google, you can invalidate incoming links.
PAGESPEED INSIGHT NOW ALSO ALLOWS DOMAIN QUERIES
In Google’s tool for checking the loading speed, PageSpeed Insights, it is now also possible to query how fast the pages of a domain are loaded on average. Until now, only requests for individual URLs were possible. To get an estimate of the loading speed, simply enter the operator “origin” in the input field and then enter the URL of the domain with a colon, e.g.: origin:https://www.seo-nerd.com.
Compared to a tool like GTMetrix, the results are usually somewhat worse. So webmasters should apparently be encouraged to continue with the loading time. This applies above all to “First Contentful Paint” (FCP), i.e. the time required to display the first elements. Google is probably once again stepping up efforts to speed up Moblie loading times in particular. Finally, the speed update will be rolled out in July 2018.
PICTURES-SEO: WHEN ARE IMAGES INDEXED?
In a tweet at the beginning of June, John Mueller answered the question whether Google could also recognize images from div tags: he did not know, but suspected that Google could not and asked the users to simply test it once. Image SEO expert Martin Mißfeldt has now followed up on this request and presents his results in an article.
Accordingly, images are indexed if
the image is embedded as BASE64 without a physical file
the image URL appears as src attribute of an iFrame
the image URL is in the text without a link
Images are NOT indexed if the image URL is in one of the following ways:
in the src of a div container
in src of a p-tag
in the src of an h2 heading
in CSS style of a div-container
in an HTML comment
Google does not automatically evaluate all image URLs, but only those that may contain potentially relevant content. For optimal integration of images, Mißfeldt recommends the use of the image tag, ideally in the context of a figure or picture element.
These are the topics of our SEO Weekly Review this time: Google’s fight against search spam and spammy websites / clarifications about mobile first indexing / the question whether it plays a role in ranking, where in the title the keyword is written / whether ratings are ranking signals / why images are becoming increasingly important for SEO / what a blog needs to have in order to provide rankings.
GOOGLE HAS IMPOSED 2017 MILLION PENALTIES AND WARNED WEBMASTERS
Google’s search engine lives from providing users with relevant content for search queries as much as possible. To ensure this, the algorithms not only search for the best search results, they also identify pages that use tricks to give the impression that they are relevant for certain search queries (keywords).
Google calls such pages search spam and deliberately draws an analogy to the well-known mail spam. Without spam filters, our email inboxes would be useless. It would take far too long to distinguish the important e-mails from the spam mails. In addition to the search spam that violates Google policies, Google is also fighting spammy pages. This includes, for example, fake shops, pages that lead to subscription traps or hacked pages for spreading malware and the like.
By using its own systems and working with website operators, Google is doing a lot to keep the web healthy. Google has now announced on its blog that in 2017, more than 45 million website operators were warned or alerted to possible problems on their websites. Around 6 million webmasters received a penalty in 2017, so they were specifically asked to change certain things on the website. In the worst case such a penalty leads to the exclusion of domains from the rankings.
In the blog post, Google asks that users continue to contact the company when they come across search spam or spammy pages.
GOOGLE CREATES CLARITY ABOUT MOBILE-FIRST-INDEXING
Google now treats mobile pages primarily as opposed to desktop pages. In short, this is the Mobile First indexing program that Google has been rolling out since March/April 2018. Pages are indexed immediately after crawling (roughly speaking: “scanning”) web pages.
With indexing, Google assigns meanings to the crawled pages. If the meanings of a page (X) match those of a search query (Y), the page (X) comes into question as a result of the search query (Y). Indexing is therefore a central component of the search engine. The switch to prioritize desktop to mobile for page ranking is correspondingly important.
That there has been some confusion about the implications and consequences of mobile first indexing in the last few months, Google has now corrected some misunderstandings via Twitter:
URLs displayed on the search results page: If there is a mobile AND a desktop version for a page, Google always indexes the mobile version, but always refers to the desktop version on desktop devices.
Number of crawlings: Google will crawl pages neither more nor less frequently than before the switch to mobile first indexing. Only when switching to Mobile-First indexing pages are crawled more often for the time being.
Pages stored in the cache: Currently Google does not show a cache version for some pages (already indexed as Mobile-First). This is not an intention, but a bug that Google is working to fix.
Page Speed and Mobile-First: In July 2018 Google rolls out its “Speed Update”. The speed with which mobile pages are loaded becomes a ranking factor. However, this update has nothing to do with mobile indexing.
Design (1): “Accordions” (pop-up menus) and “hamburger menus” (three horizontal stripes as symbols for menus behind them) are good solutions from Google’s point of view on mobile websites.
Design (2): For mobile first indexing, it does not matter how the page is designed, whether as an external mobile page, as a responsive design or even only for desktop devices. However, Google also recommends switching to mobile-friendly designs
The mobile index itself is not a ranking factor: Mobile-friendliness, on the other hand, is it already
WHERE THE KEYWORD IS PLACED IN THE TITLE DOES NOT PLAY A ROLE FOR RANKING
This clarification was provided by Google spokesman John Mueller in a tweet this week. He wrote: “If you’re swapping the order of keywords in a title, I wouldn’t expect that to have an effect on ranking.” However, Mueller points out that it may make sense to try out whether swapping the word order leads to a title “working” better, i.e. causing more clicks. Such tests could be carried out in advertisements or social media.
RATINGS ARE NOT RAKING SIGNALS – EXCEPTION: LOCAL SEO
Google does not use page ratings and surveys for the page recommendations on the search results pages. This was revealed by John Mueller in a hangout. One of the most important reasons for this is that Google usually does not know how the rating should be weighted, as there are too many different rating systems (e.g. 5 stars, 3 cups etc.). For Local SEO, the case would be different. Google can clearly classify the ratings there, which is why they are also included in the rankings.
The good old search with a keyword gets competition – the Visual Search: Apps like Google Lens make it possible to scan objects with the mobile phone camera and to search for information or online shops with corresponding offers. In the future, webmasters and SEOs will therefore have to concentrate more on images in order to display for search queries that are made exclusively via images. What becomes important in this context was written down by Jes.Scholz in the blog of MOZ.
BLOG TEXTS DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY GUARANTEE HIGH RANKINGS
Blogs have become part of the content strategy of many sites. The problem: Blog texts rarely guarantee high rankings – at least that is the result of a current Sistrix study. The most important reason for this is that blog texts often treat topics so focused that they can hardly be assigned to specific search queries or keywords.
However, the study should not be generalized. Sistrix admits this and gives examples of blog texts that achieve very good rankings. Finally, Sistrix uses the study to refer to the in-house concept of high-performance content formats (HPC formats). This means content formats that achieve an above-average number of top 10 rankings (with over 20 percent of keywords). Such HPC formats are optimized in terms of both content and technology. Ergo: Who simply writes down texts, will hardly improve rankings. Blog texts must also be well thought out and analytically planned.
You don’t have time to keep up to date with all relevant SEO news in blogs and news portals? Then our summary of the SEO News of the week is just right for you. Let’s get started right away: there was a lot of excitement about a European Court of Justice ruling on the use of Facebook fan pages. Google is also giving website operators new forms of contribution for local search. In the mixed messages, we will tell you why loading time optimization continues to gain in importance.
DO WE HAVE TO SHUT DOWN ALL OUR FACEBOOK PAGES SOON?
Since June 5, 2018, this question has occupied everyone who has created and operates a page on Facebook. The reason is a judgement of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Specifically, the verdict concerns the operation of a fan page on Facebook. In particular, the Facebook Insights Tool, which analyzes the data of visitors to such fan pages. Data protectionists consider it to be not in compliance with the law.
The tool cannot be cancelled by fanpage operators, so it is always active. The tool became a data protection problem in the case dealt with by the European Court of Justice because neither Facebook nor the operator himself points out that personal data is collected and stored during the visit. The operator of the fan page (Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein) had argued that he was not responsible for data collection and storage.
DO NOT PANIC – WAIT FOR THE RULING OF THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
The ECJ judgement now clarifies: whoever creates a Facebook page bears joint responsibility for possible data protection violations of the social media network. Attorney Dr. Thomas Schwenke believes that other social networks may also be affected by this judgement. At the same time, the lawyer advises not to panic immediately.
The ECJ ruling serves only as a basis for a pending decision of the Federal Administrative Court. If it agrees with the judgment of the European Court of Justice, German data protection authorities may prohibit the use of Facebook pages. The consequence would be a wave of admonitions, unless Facebook changes its current handling of personal data. This would probably not only affect the sides of companies and authorities, but also those of private individuals. However, their risk of damage would be lower than that of those who run Facebook pages for business reasons.
CONTRIBUTIONS FOR PRODUCTS AND OFFERS IN GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
If you also want to be found on Google for search queries with local or regional references, you should have a Google My Business Account. It has already been possible to post articles there for some time. Google has now announced on Twitter that there are two new types of posts for Google My Business:
For product contributions, it is possible to state the name and price of the product and to provide a description of the product. A text length between 100 and 300 words is currently defined for all contribution types. The amounts can and should always be provided with a picture. See Google My Business Help for a detailed description of of how to post contributions to Google.
Google takes a generous view of spelling and grammar errors in its ranking, says Google’s J. Müller in a tweet. Erroneous texts can also rank. Most website users will probably be less generous than the search engine and turn to more serious looking sites. Too many spelling and grammar errors should therefore not be allowed to occur on your pages.
In Yoast’s popular WordPress SEO plugin, a bug has crept in with the 7.0 update that can lead to ranking losses. This error causes images and other media files to have their own URLs, which are then without content. The bug is now fixed with the current version. For security reasons, Yoast customers should switch their plugin to the current version and manually ensure that the setting for the question “Forward attachment URLs to attachment files” is set to “Yes” in the tab “Media”.
Joost de Valk of Yoast apologized to users who were affected. The story also had a media afterplay. Google spokesman John Müller criticized SEO blogs that had not covered the bug comprehensively enough and instead only stoked fear to collect clicks.
Google will evaluate the page speed of pages more differentiated in the future. Google spokesman John Müller announced in a hangout that the fastest website will secure a place at the top of the ranking. The optimization of loading times will thus become even more important as an SEO task.
Only in December 2017 Google had given more space to the snippets (i.e. the short presentations or link tips on the search results pages). Instead of the meta-description running over only two lines, there were now three or even four lines possible. Now Google shows that it can also play the role backwards: since this week snippets are again only displayed in two lines. This returns Google to the process before the December 2017 change.
GOOGLE STILL DOES NOT GIVE LENGTH RECOMMENDATIONS
Danny Sullivan, spokesman for Google’s public relations team, has now confirmed the change in a tweet. According to this, the snippets are a little longer than before December (which is not true so far, see below). Nevertheless, Google still leaves all doors open. According to Sullivan, Google does not give a general recommendation for the length of snippets. The display shows what the algorithms think makes the most sense for the respective search query.
From an SEO point of view, this “look and see if it fits” information is of course of little help. Finally, the display on the search results page affects the click-through rate. According to studies, users of snippets mainly pay attention to the title (i.e. the headline) as well as the URL, but in case of doubt an appealing description is decisive for users to click on a page. Since Google does not help here, the SEO scene has to help itself. The following has been found out so far:
HOW LONG SHOULD META-DESCRIPTIONS BE?
According to RankRanger, the average length of descriptions displayed in Germany on May 18 was only around 151 characters for the desktop view. There is even less space available in the mobile view. In its review, the seo-nerd® came to average lengths of 110 to 115 characters. At the moment, however, it looks as if these are approximate values at best.
Our recommendation for writing meta-descriptions is: Try to include all the essentials in the first 110 characters so that the user understands what he or she can expect on the page. If you expect your customers to use desktop computers (typical for B2B offers), you can also work with 150 characters.
Since Google decides for itself in more than half of the cases what is written in the description (and often also chooses excerpts from the text of the page), your descriptions can and should be longer anyway. If you’ve already expressed the most important thing within the 110/150 mark, you can use as much text as you like to place a call to action.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE NEW CHANGEOVER?
That always depends on which users you are thinking about. Basically, not much changes for mobile users. They are much more strongly influenced by the recent deletion of pagination in the mobile SERP display. In mobile use, scrolling down is part of the normal habit anyway.
The situation is different with desktop use. People don’t like to scroll around here. Users therefore often choose one of the results that they see at first glance (above the fold). By changing back to shorter descriptions, two to two and a half results become more visible with the usual status settings (1366*768 or 1920*1080). This means that the positions seven and eight in the search results in particular benefit from Google’s latest turnaround.
As in the previous week, there are new things to report about Google this week as well.
GOOGLE LANGUAGE ASSISTANT BECOMES A PRIVATE SECRETARY
At the in-house developer conference I/O Google announced some innovations. For many users and SEOs, the most exciting feature is the optimized language assistant. By the end of 2018 at the latest, it should be possible to talk more or less “normally” with the language assistant. Then, there will be six different voices to choose from. The “Ok Google” can be omitted in the “conversation” in the future.
At the same time, the Google Assistant also understands more complex queries such as “What is the weather like in Berlin and Hamburg? Anyone using Google Home will be able to set up routine commands. For example, when the message “Ok, Google, dinner’s ready” is displayed, the TV is automatically switched off, the favourite music is played and the family members are notified on their devices that they can now go to the table.
Who sports the opinion, that this is quite nice, but not necessarily needed, perhaps is pleased about this: The assistant is going to be your personal secretary: It will soon reserve seats for you in the restaurant, manage your calendar by voice command, type messages for you (e.g. while driving) and send them right away. Of course, the assistant will also give you the DJ and play your music if you wish.
MORE INNOVATIONS GOOGLE USERS CAN LOOK FORWARD TO
Gmail users will soon receive a “Smart Compose”. This is apparently the writing aid already known from Messanger programs, which accesses frequently used phrases and thus helps you to write faster and at the same time with less errors.
App developers will be able to share Google’s experience with artificial intelligence. Under the title ML Kit, the company from Mountain View offers developers APIs that help with text recognition, face recognition or image labeling, for example.
Those using Google Photos will soon receive AI-based suggestions on how to optimize photos (by adjusting brightness, angle, etc.). In addition, it will soon also be possible to automatically colorize black and white photos.
With the help of Google Lens you could already take pictures of any things, people or animals in order to search for information on the web about the photo object you took. Google Lens will also be a scanner in the future. You can then scan any text with Google Lens. Lens will soon be available in German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
With Lookout, visually impaired or blind people receive an app that provides them with information about their immediate surroundings.
Google has also updated its guidelines for the use of images on websites in week 19. As with other optimizations, Google advises not to optimize for the search engine, but to think of the user first. Therefore, when using images, the user experience should be in the foreground. Images should therefore be selected and used according to the following criteria:
Pictures should match the content of the page. Arbitrarily used images are rated negatively by Google
Images should always be placed as close as possible to the text passages to which they refer (in reverse: The text environment gives Google important hints for the interpretation of the image)
Images should not contain important text elements such as headings or menu items – these should always be included in the HTML text.
Images alone cannot be used to design informative pages – at least not from Google’s point of view. The search engine remains dependent on texts worth reading in order to be able to recommend pages
It helps Google to create a sitemap of images. It may also contain URLs of other domains, for example, if the images are delivered via a content delivery network.
Besides the user experience, these things are also important when dealing with pictures:
The loading time of the pictures should be as short as possible
The images should match the title and description of the page, as they are also used for Google Image Search
Those who use structured data may benefit from better rankings (e.g. an image that is excellent as a recipe has a better chance of being displayed for suitable search queries)
The same applies to the quality of pictures: sharp and optimally illuminated ones are preferred
Use a descriptive alternative text. So don’t just use the keyword, but describe what the keyword has to do with the photo motif
IS IT REQUIRED TO HAVE A SEPARATE MOBILE-PAGE IN ADDITION TO A RESPONSIVE WEBSITE?
Better not. John Mueller has now clarified this in a tweet. If there are two versions of a website optimized for mobile devices, Google doesn’t know which one to display. Therefore, it is best to simply implement the website on responsive.
You have questions to the topics raised here or need search engine optimization? The seo-nerd® is looking forward to your inquiry!
UPDATES AT GOOGLE MY BUSINESS SEO News of the week 18 2018
Google announced some changes that are important to everyone who needs Local SEO. We also take a look into the near future, for which Google plans to make audio content searchable. Last but not least, we remind you of May 25th, the deadline for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
NEW FEATURES AT GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
More and more Google users are making local search queries to the search engine. Compared to the previous year, their number increased by 50 percent. Especially on the smartphone, people like to search for service providers or offers from the region. Around a third of all mobile search queries are location-based. Google is now responding to the growing importance of local search and expands Google My Business.
My Business was created in 2014 by merging Google Places, Google Local and Google+ Local and has since been something like the “contact point” at Google for local SEO measures.
The latest updates extend the range of APIs. In the future, posts with offers and descriptions can also be integrated into the local search results and customers can thus be informed more specifically.
GOOGLE ANNOUNCES NEW AFFILIATE PROGRAM
On the other hand, agencies will soon be able to create their own My Business accounts, Anita Yuen, Product Management Director at Google My Business announced in the Google blog. The agencies will receive their own dashboard to manage any number of locations.
The previous restriction of 100 loactions per my-business user will then be lifted for approved agencies. The dashboard will also facilitate collaborations between several employees, for example by sending out invitations and managing listings.
Google plans to launch a new partner program for Google My Business shortly. It is not yet known which criteria agencies have to fulfil in order to be admitted there.
ALSO ON THE GOOGLE MAPS PLATFORM INNOVATIONS WILL BE MADE
Google Maps plays an important role in local searches. So it’s no coincidence that Google announced changes to Google Maps at the same time. In order to use Google Maps, everyone will have to deposit a payment profile. However, Google is generous (at least for the time being) and deposits $200 a month for each user. This should be sufficient for standard uses of smaller projects.
EXPANSION OF THE COMBAT ZONE: GOOGLE SOON WILL ALSO MAKE AUDIO CONTENT SEARCHABLE
Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular thanks to streaming services such as Spotify or Deezer. The amount of knowledge that comes together in the many good conversations that you can now listen to on the net is immense. And it is precisely this pool of knowledge that Google would like to bring closer to its users in the future. The search engine is therefore working on making the knowledge slumbering in podcasts usable for the search, as this interview with Zack Reneau-Wedeen, an employee of Google’s podcast team, reveals.
One goal here is to be able to search for audio content directly in the Google search mask. With one click out of the SERP, one would be led to a suitable Podcast – audio contents would be just as easy to find then as for instance suitable videos to the search term.
Should Zack Reneau-Wedeen’s team make good progress, search engine optimization would be given a new field of activity: Audio-SEO. This development is certainly fuelled by the success of digital language assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. The digital helpers also like to read something aloud themselves, but they are also almost perfect for playing suitable conversations or other audio content.
IS YOUR SITE DATA PROTECTION COMPLIANT ACCORDING TO GDPR?
On May 25, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enters into force. After that you can still use Google Analytics, but there are some things you have to consider or apply for and change:
conclude a contract for order data processing
confirm additional agreements
implement DSGVO-compliant tracking codes
optimize the right of objection
define the retention period for the data
delete old data
The nerd wrote down exactly what and how this works for you under the keywords GDPR and Google Analytics. If you are not able to make the changes yourself or are unsure, you are welcome to contact the seo-nerd®.
This week, many SEOs literally saw a ghost. By name: the PageRank. This ranking factor, which used to be so decisive and now is mostly smiled at mildly, has become quite quiet in recent years. Now a new patent for PageRank has been announced and SEO experts are pondering: Is this the return of an undead? In addition, Google’s SEO contact John Müller, gave enlightening answers to questions about website indexing and the ranking of hreflang references.
WILL THE PAGERANK COME BACK TO LIFE?
Not so long ago, backlinks were considered one of the most important tools for search engine optimization in the SEO scene. Google’s PageRank algorithm rates websites based on the links they receive. Simply put: The more links, the more important Google rated the page.
In 2016 Google buried the Toolbar PageRank with which you could easily see the evaluation of the current status of a website. The end was in line with Google’s strategy, since the Hummingbirg-Update put more emphasis on valuable content of websites.
Now Google has applied for a new PageRank patent. But what exactly does this patent mean for the further development of search engine optimization? Will it soon be a question of placing backlinks again and will other factors be devalued as a result? From experience the seo-nerd® can say: With new patents of Google, hysteria and snap breathing is rather inappropriate. Patents do not mean that they will ever be used. It may be that links remain important for longer than many suspect. This will not change the semantic-holistic search orientation Google has been pursuing for years. King Content will therefore not be easily pushed from the throne.
GOOGLE CLARIFIES: THE EVALUATION OF HREFLANG AND THE INDEXING OF WEBSITES
While the patent may leave you with one or two questions, Google`s spokesman John Müller has finally solved two other mysteries of the Google algorithm this week:
RANKING SIGNALS FROM LANGUAGE AND COUNTRY VERSIONS ARE EVALUATED SEPARATELY
The HTML meta element “hreflang” is used to support Google in classifying the geographical orientation of a web page. This makes it easier for the search engine to provide the user with the appropriate language version or the regional URL of a website.
This week, a Twitter user publicly considered whether these hreflang references to other language and country versions of a website would ensure that signals from the individual versions were transmitted. John Müller answered with a clear “No”. The different versions of a website rank separately, even if they are connected by hreflang. He also provided the logical explanation for this: Just because one page is relevant in a certain region, it does not necessarily have to be relevant for another.
WHY IS MY WEBSITE NOT COMPLETELY INDEXED?
During the week, a webmaster on Twitter asked why only 5 of the 22 pages on his website were indexed. Simple question, simple answer: According to John Müller, very few websites are fully indexed. Thousands of pages are often left standing. This is usually due to small things that are overlooked, such as setting the “nofollow” attribute, canonicals or redirects. It is therefore worthwhile to let an expert like seo-nerd take a look at your pages.
If you have any questions about these or other SEO topics, please feel free to contact us. The nerd is eagerly waiting to talk to you about his favorite topic.
SEO perspective-wise, nothing really earth-shattering happened this week. We take this opportunity to point out a study and an article offering useful tips for search engine optimization.
HOW LONG CAN META-TITLES AND META-DESCRIPTION BE?
Felix Meyer from Seokratie has measured and checked which snippet tools deliver the best results. Google itself does not offer a tool into which one could enter title and description and then the optimal length would be displayed. There is a simple reason for this: Google wants to keep all doors open when it comes to the length of the title and description.
An incorrect length of title and description is therefore not a direct ranking signal. In principle, one could also write a very long title: In its full splendour, however, no user would ever see it. Space on the search results page (SERP) is limited. Google therefore simply cuts off titles that are too long. Not only does this look unattractive, it also usually doesn’t encourage you to click. Indirectly, therefore, the length of title and description is a ranking signal.
As far as the descriptions are concerned, Google sports the opinion that it knows best what users would like to read there. In almost 60% of the cases, Google extracts the text for the description itself from the content. This way it can react to the entered search term and the individual search history. Nevertheless, nobody should refrain from entering a description: It provides Google with important clues as to what the page in question is aimed at.
TITLE AND DESCRIPTION ARE DISPLAYED DIFFERENTLY ON MOBILE DEVICES THAN ON DESKTOP COMPUTERS
Therefore, it is not so easy to give general recommendations for their length. The study by Seokratie comes to the conclusion that a title should have a maximum of 569 pixels or 65 characters. Since mobile also wraps the title into a second line, your title should be at least 40 characters or about 330 pixels long. This is how your site gets more attention in the SERPs.
A description should be at least 100 characters long and no more than 290 characters long. Whether the full description is displayed is always decided by Google on a case-by-case basis. It is recommended to always put the most important things at the beginning of the description. The end result should rather be a request to visit the site or a call-to-action. If this is not displayed, users still know what they can expect on the site.
According to the study, Screaming Frog’s tool was the most reliable. However, first the tool needs to be downloaded. If you just want to check for the right length quickly, you can also visit Torben Leuschner’s tool. This does not warn you if your title or description becomes too long, but you now know how long they can or should be.
DOES GOOGLE FINALLY WANT TO MAKE ITSELF INDEPENDENT FROM BACKLINKS?
This suspicion is obvious when you look at a new patent. According to this patent, Google is working on getting to know things, people and places better. The key term for this is “entities”. In the field of Semantics, this means clearly recognizable terms with characteristic properties. Google has patented the answer to the question of how such entities can be used for a search engine.
At its core, this patent amounts to a huge database of semantic entities in which the relationships between the entities are recorded. Google is thus further freed from dependence on backlinks. For each search query, Google can now refer to this database to see which terms semantically belong to the search term entered. The names Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton, for example, often appear on pages that at least touch on the topic of “US President”. Google recognizes these relationships and can therefore also refer to pages in which the individual names mentioned appear, but not the term “US President”.
All this is not entirely new, but joins seamlessly into the holistic-semantic restructuring of the search engine. The patent and the entity database refine and complete Google’s understanding of terms. Ronald Reagan, for example, should be mentioned far more frequently as “US President” than as an actor. Although Reagan was an actor for much longer, Google “knows” that the term “Ronald Reagan” is almost always aimed at the term “US President”.
This is extremely important for online marketing. This way Google can give better weight to the content of pages. When asked about “Ronald Reagan”, it will therefore be preferable to have pages that also have something to say about the topic “US President”. In other words, Google no longer relies on links to create relationships between terms and topics. It has a database in which the relationships between the words (or rather “entities”) are stored and can be retrieved. The whole thing is like a kind of entity page rank – only much more powerful. Since this is only a patent, you should definitely continue to work on the link profile of your pages.